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March 6, 2008
Will basketball factor in Pryor decision?
There are many factors involved when it comes to the much-anticipated college decision from Terrelle Pryor, Rivals.com's No. 1 player in the class of 2008.
Pryor, who didn't sign on National Signing Day, will sign with Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State or Oregon by April 1.
Among the factors being discussed include location, the offense, the coaching staff, early playing time and the talent that would surround Pryor.
There's one potential factor that has gone overlooked for the most part: Will basketball have any impact on the decision of the 6-foot-5, 235-pound quarterback?
"No, it won't," Pryor said. "I really like playing basketball and I'm still considering playing both football and basketball in college, but I'm not sure. I'm leaning toward just football, but I haven't decided for sure."
Why would basketball matter? Because Pryor also is one of the nation's top basketball prospects for the class of 2008. Pryor, who plays small forward, is ranked as the No. 28 basketball player in the country by Rivals.com.
"I talk to the basketball coaches when I visit schools and all that, and there was just a coach from Oregon here for hoops," he said. "But football is in my blood and it's No. 1 for me."
That's a good thing for Penn State fans, because the Nittany Lions traditionally have a weak basketball program. Although Michigan is 9-20 this season, the Wolverines have a solid basketball tradition.
Ohio State won a national title in 1960 and has participated in 10 NCAA Final Fours, including last season. And for the most part, Oregon has been successful in the Pac-10 in recent years.
Pryor, who accounted for nearly 3,800 yards of total offense and 59 touchdowns as a senior, has equally impressive stats in basketball. He estimates that he averages 24 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and six blocks per game. Jeannette destroyed Girard High School 67-35 in a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AA matchup Wednesday night. Pryor already has led his team to the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League title.
"We want to win the state title," he said. "We just keep on taking things one game at a time, and we have a really good overall team."
"I am not going to Penn State when it's (spring) break; there's no point because there won't be anyone there," he said. "I'm not sure if the break is next week or when, I'm so busy with basketball. I was going to try to take my visit there last weekend before my dad had to go to the hospital."
Pryor's father, Craig, was taken to the hospital Feb. 29 with a heart problem. He had surgery, but since has been released. "He's doing good," Terrelle said. "It was scary, but he came through it well."
As Pryor and Jeannette continue to win basketball games, recruiting isn't getting his full attention - although he knows time is running out.
"I don't have much time left, so I have to figure out a date for those visits," he said. "I don't know if I can make Oregon; that one is obviously a lot tougher to make than Penn State. But Penn State I can do. I just want to make it a real official visit and be able to spend the full two days there."
Pryor did find time recently to visit Ohio State for a basketball game and to see his friends Michael Brewster and J.B. Shugarts, both of whom signed with the Buckeyes on National Signing Day. He might try to find time for a return trip to Columbus, as well as another trip to Michigan.
"I'd like my mom to see both places and Penn State," he said. "So we're talking about a day trip to both Ohio State and Michigan, and she'd come along with me on my Penn State trip."
With 25 days left until his deadline and the Jeannette basketball team on a roll, it may be that Pryor can't take all the visits. So which trips would win out?
"I'm not really sure," he said. "I still talk to the coaches weekly, and I'll figure that out before I run out of time."
Even though basketball won't be part of Pryor's college decision, it looks as if the sport still is going to play a role in where he lands. One or two schools likely won't get a look before April 1 because of his hoops schedule.